Partially Blind Athlete Fighting Triathlon's 'Black out Glasses' - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Partially Blind Athlete Fighting Triathlon's 'Black out Glasses' Rule

Posted: Updated:

A partially blind world class athlete from Michigan has filed a Federal lawsuit in Detroit over some new rules being imposed on visually-impaired athletes who compete in triathlons.

Aaron Scheidies has been an athlete all his life, first at Farmington High School and later at Michigan State. Now 30 years-old, he's a seven time world champion and eight time Triathlon national champion. He has competed in more than 200 triathlons, including the Iron Man competition. Last year he was a finalist for an Espee award. You'd never know he has only 20 percent of his vision.

But now Aaron is facing an even greater obstacle by new rules he says are being imposed by USA Triathlon, International Triathlon Union, and 3D Racing LLC.

Those rules will force blind and visually impaired athletes, to wear "black out" glasses while they compete. The idea is to level the playing field, so all the athletes have the same level of impairment, to make it more competitive.

Aaron says it's a dangerous idea that puts all athletes at risk. "Any one that has any vision, any light perception at all is going to use that vision for their balance. So the black out glasses are basically knocking out one-third of someone's balance system" he said.

Attorney Richard Bernstein, who himself is legally blind agrees, "it is simply illegal to require someone to become more disabled as an accommodation for them to be able to compete."

The International Triathalon Union released a statement to FOX 2 that says in part,  "...the rule exists to create a fairer competition for all athletes because partially blind athletes and completely blind athletes compete in the same category and partially blind athletes have an advantage over those who are completely blind. This rule is in place only on the run portion, not in the swim and not in the bike portions. No athlete has ever been denied the opportunity to race because of this rule. A Physically Challenged Open Division allows all athletes to participate."

Aaron says requiring black out glasses shows no understanding of the blind and is just bad judgement. On Wednesday he filed a federal lawsuit in Detroit saying he's not looking for financial damages he just wants the organizations to drop what he calls a very dangerous requirement.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • WATCH: Fox 2's Rich Luterman take the Ice Bucket Challenge

    WATCH: Fox 2's Rich Luterman take the Ice Bucket Challenge

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:58 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:58:51 GMT
    Fox 2 Weather Authority Rich Luterman took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, after receiving challenges by a couple friends, including Monica Gayle.Watch Rich take the challenge with the assistance of his children and see who he issues the challenge to.
    Fox 2 Weather Authority Rich Luterman took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, after receiving challenges by a couple friends, including Monica Gayle.Watch Rich take the challenge with the assistance of his children and see who he issues the challenge to.
  • VP Joe Biden speaks in Detroit on Labor Day

    VP Joe Biden speaks in Detroit on Labor Day

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:18 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:18:46 GMT
    This is the second time vice president Joe Biden has been in Detroit on Labor Day in the past three years.
    This is the second time vice president Joe Biden has been in Detroit on Labor Day in the past three years.
  • RECALL: Kraft American Singles Cheese Slices

    RECALL: Kraft American Singles Cheese Slices

    Monday, September 1 2014 8:05 AM EDT2014-09-01 12:05:15 GMT
    Kraft voluntarily recalled 7,691 cases of its American Singles cheese product Friday because an ingredient was stored improperly by a supplier.
    Kraft voluntarily recalled 7,691 cases of its American Singles cheese product Friday because an ingredient was stored improperly by a supplier.
Powered by WorldNow
Untitled

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices